J.R. Mitchell - 1960 Lotus 18 FJR.
J.R. Mitchell - 1960 Lotus 18 FJR.

CSRG Charity Challenge 2015 – Report and Photos

The 12th annual Classic Sports Racing Group (CSRG) Charity Challenge was held October 2-4, 2015 at the 12-turn, 2.52-mile Sonoma Raceway Sears Point in Sonoma, California. The event featured a strong field of historic race cars, with pre-war, sports racing, production and GT entrants running in eight race groups. This year’s vintage car race featured Masters USA Historic Formula One machines, Formula Junior Historics and the 50th anniversary of the Alfa Romeo GTA.

Eddie Lawson used all the skills that made him a four-time Grand Prix motorcycle racing World Champion to lead the first Masters USA Historic Formula One race from start to finish in his Wolf WR4. He also posted the fastest lap time at the sun-drenched Sonoma circuit. The battle for second was led by James Hagan in his Benetton-liveried Tyrrell 011 but a mistake on the 7th lap dropped him down to 6th and he never recovered the lost places. Mike Thurlow took the advantage and never really looked vulnerable as he stayed ahead of a battle for the next few places. Randall Smith, a Masters newcomer in his Arrows A1, managed to stay ahead of a determined Steve Cook in the March 741 as they crossed the line with less than a car length between them. An early error by Keith Frieser cost him a couple of places and he worked hard to finish a creditable 5th. Chris Locke was the first of the JPS Lotus’ home as he kept his Lotus 77 ahead of Martin Lauber in Wolf WR6 and Andrew Beaumont Lotus 76 had to be content with 9th place.

The second Historic F1 race at the CSRG Charity Challenge 2015 proved to be another Eddie Lawson masterclass as yet again he led from start to finish. Starting second on the grid, Mike Thurlow made an error on an early lap that left the chasing pack scrambling for second place and a spin from Randall Smith in his Arrow left a gap open that James Hagan grabbed along with the second spot that he held onto until the checkered flag. Keith Frieser and Steve Cook resumed their battle from race one with Frieser snatching a march on his rival on lap three and despite Cook’s best effort they finished the race in 3rd and 4th respectively.

Chris Locke retired on lap three with mechanical trouble as did Smith on lap 10. Sean Allen disappointed with his efforts in race one showed what his McLaren M30 was capable of finishing fifth having passed both Martin Lauber sixth and Andrew Beaumont seventh. Brian Blain’s BRM P207 showed consistency finishing the race in eighth, Ron Maydon finished ninth and Charles Warner took home tenth.

The 2015 CSRG Charity Challenge also included a feature race honoring the 50th anniversary of the Alfa Romeo GTA. Included in the field was the 1965 Alfa Romeo GTA Corsa 1600 of Bill and Patrick Byrne. With 127 documented races and 41 wins in period, this Medley Bourbon USA, Stars and Stripes liveried GTA won the 1974 German Touring Car Championship with Dieter Meyer at the wheel.

Proceeds from this race weekend benefited the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC), the charitable arm of the raceway. CSRG has contributed over $700,000 to Sonoma County youth organizations through Speedway Children’s Charities since 2004.

Similar to the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 races, Sports Car Digest also documented the CSRG Charity Challenge 2015, with Senior Photographer Dennis Gray producing the following set of images from the wine country track. We split up the pictures into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, all displayed in the full-width view, while the second gallery can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs. To see more from Dennis, visit HistoricMotorPrints.com/.

CSRG Charity Challenge 2015 – Featured Photo Gallery

John Goodman - 1964 Shelby Cobra
John Goodman – 1964 Shelby Cobra
Jim Gallucci - 1967 Mercury Cougar.
Jim Gallucci – 1967 Mercury Cougar.
Cove Britton - 1964 Jaguar E-type.
Cove Britton – 1964 Jaguar E-type.
Locke de Bretteville - 1969 Palliser-Winkelmann WDB2.
Locke de Bretteville – 1969 Palliser-Winkelmann WDB2.

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Andrew Beaumont - Lotus 76 and Sean Allen - 1980 McLaren M30
Andrew Beaumont – Lotus 76 and Sean Allen – 1980 McLaren M30
Jeffrey ONeill - 1960 Maserati TIPO Birdcage.
Jeffrey ONeill – 1960 Maserati TIPO Birdcage.
Eddie Lawson - 1977 Wolf WR4.
Eddie Lawson was tops all weekend in his 1977 Wolf WR4.
Shelly Zide - Alfa Romeo GTV Trans-Am
Shelly Zide – Alfa Romeo GTV Trans-Am

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Show Comments (4)

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  1. A few years back Classic Car racing in the US was just a tad cautious – these guys appear to have thrown “Tad Cautious” out of the window with lots of drift, opposite lock and close racing. Great racing and great photos Dennis.

  2. The Medley Bourbon Alfa was completely rebuilt by “Alfaholics” in the UK before shipment to the US. Nobody builds better/faster Alfas anywhere.